We’re only about a month and a half into 2016 and already have a plethora of new and under-discovered places to eat in Philly that are just waiting to cut their ceremonial ribbons or become discovered by the general Phoodie community. Without being annoying about it, I try to indirectly recommend a variety of restaurants and various food spots to everyone by featuring them on our instagram feed, but I can only flood your timeline so much before you unfollow me for being “that guy” who just won’t leave you alone. As thankful as I am for gaining the amount of followers we have on social media, I can still appreciate the concept of there being “too much of a good thing.”
Besides, I can only make so many recommendations before my bank of go-to spots becomes empty, which would result in myself having to venture out even more for amazing food spots to recommend to you. It sounds great at first, until the hard reality that I am but a local writer with a modest income sets in. Simply put, being a food blogger is one hell of an expensive hobby.
That’s not to say that I don’t have significant connections in the local food scene, with friendships spanning from award-winning chefs to other popular food bloggers in Philly. That’s why I reached out to some of my friends and colleagues from some of my favorite Philly-based restaurants and food blogs and asked them if they wouldn’t mind pitching in to our now-inaugural segment of restaurants that you should most certainly visit in the year to come.
The contributors of this article are those who I’ve been fortunate enough to call friends and colleagues in the booming food scene that is Philadelphia. Some of them are award-winning chefs, restaurateurs, and even fellow food writers. Throughout my correspondence with the following writers, and patronage of some of their restaurants, I’ve grown to love and trust each of their philosophies on food and Philly culture, as well as the dishes that they’ve been kind enough to share with me. Their recommendations, in my opinion, is as valuable as any other in Philadelphia as I’m sure you’ll discover soon enough.
I’m sure I speak for more than a few when I say that the most common question a food blogger or notable foodie will get is what our “favorite” restaurants are, which is, in all honesty, both flattering and annoying to be asked. On one hand, we as food writers, bloggers, foodies, instagramers, whatever you want to call us, have done what we can to reach that level of trust in our friends and followers. It’s what we, in the grand scheme of things, want you to ask us because there’s nothing quite like recommending someone to a new restaurant or dish and later finding out that your endorsement was, in fact, a great one.
On the other hand, asking a foodie what his favorite restaurant is, especially in a city as diverse and plentiful as Philadelphia, is as hard to answer as Gary Busey would reply to a “fuck, marry, kill” riddle of the cast of The Jersey Shore… Simply put, there’s just way too many ways to answer that question. Some make it slightly easier for us by asking what we’d recommend for a particular cuisine, which surely lightens the load, but can still be daunting to those who have an encyclopedic knowledge of a certain culture or cuisine. Have you ever asked an Asian person where to eat in Chinatown? Or me for that matter? I just start stuttering before I pass out.
But this isn’t that kind of article. We won’t be reviewing our “favorite” places are, per se (no pun intended). Instead, we’ll simply be recommending places that we think should be, at the very least, tried in the year to come. Some of them will be considered hidden gems by some and classic staples by others. Regardless, these are the restaurants and shops that we’ve collectively come to love and think that you will too.
But first… Me!
If it’s one place that I’ve turned people on to the most, it’s my go-to breakfast spot and Fishtown Staple, Sulimay’s Restaurant. There’s infinite reason why I tell all of my friends to go to Sulimay’s, but the reason’s I mention the most are the quality menu curated by the chef, owner, and proprietor, Lucretia Sulimay, and the home-styled atmosphere that she provides that can only be authenticated by an establishment that’s been a part of the Fishtown community as long as she has.
Whatever you end up getting at Sulimay’s, whether it be the tried and true classic breakfast platters like “the number 2” (a classic egg-and-breakfast-meat dish with home fries or hash browns) or one of her original specials like the Pennsylvania-inspired “Eggs Bensington” (pan-fried scrapple, Cooper Sharp cheese and dippy eggs served over white toast with potatoes), you’re going to get a taste of what the Philadelphia pallet has come from and, in a sense what it’s become. Even vegetarians can find some relief and satisfy their sweet tooth with Lucritia’s famous Pumpkin Pancakes.Fishtown as a Philly food destination has certainly changed in recent time with it’s artisan cuisines and chic drinking spots, but Sulimay’s is one of the few eateries left that can say that they’ve been serving all generations of Fishtowners old and new, from families leaving Sunday mass, to hungover hipsters looking for a quiet atmosphere and a reasonably priced fill-up (not to mention anyone looking for a genuinely awesome conversation with Lucretia Sulimay herself).
There are plenty of amazing places to eat in Fishtown these days, but none of them have gained the amount of loyalty from me as a Phoodie as much as Sulimay’s. Anyone who’s anyone in the neighborhood eats there.
Sulimay’s is located at 632 E. Girard Ave. You can read their menu here (minus their specials) or call them at (215) 423-1773.
Bud & Marilyn’s
by Caitlin Cherkin (@PhillyBrunchBabe)
Food-based social media accounts in Philly are, rightfully so, popping up almost every day and my friend, Caitlin Cherkin, has found her niche to stand out from the crowd with her brunch-based Instagram account, @PhillyBrunchBabe. Like a lot of people our age, brunch has become the new Sunday ritual for Caitlin. Being a law student for some time now, she’s mastered the art of working hard and, understandably, playing hard. So what better way to ease the subtle pains of the night before than to go to brunch at one of Philly’s many amazing brunch spots to soak up the remains of last night’s club or party? More than myself, Caitlin has scoured the Philly food scene for any breakfast worth eating at noon on a weekend. You can check out her blog at PhillyBrunchBabe.Blogspot.com.
Check out her recommendation for 2016 below:
Since Chef Marcie Blaine Turney opened Bud and Marilyn’s this past summer, it’s been creating a ton of buzz on the Philadelphia foodie scene. Everyone has been raving about how great their food is, especially their brunch. Just reading the menu made my mouth water. With items like the Smoked Beet Reuben and a fried chicken bucket, Bud and Marilyn’s offers a unique dining experience in a relaxed, yet stylish atmosphere. It’s a must-try for any brunch lover. They even take brunch reservations.The Warm Pecan Cinnamon Roll is the perfect shareable starter. It’s doused in the sweetest glaze, with walnuts and raisins topping it off. For $9, It’s sure to please anyone’s sweet tooth. The crab cake benedict, another great choice, is served with well-seasoned potatoes and a perfectly light hollandaise sauce. It costs $18, and is not to be missed. But the real stand-out is the Marilyn’s Fried Chicken Bucket. The chicken inside is cooked to perfection, and the skin is extra crispy. It’s a no-frills fried chicken without sauce or too much seasoning – it’s just fried chicken done right. The huge portion comes with a half chicken and fries, as well as pickles, slaw, hot sauce and tartar sauce. Bud and Marilyn’s manages to take a classic casual dish and turn it into a gourmet meal. At just $14 it’s a steal. You can check out some of Bud and Marilyn’s tasty food and killer cocktails on their Instagram page or by visiting their website at budandmarilyns.com.
Cafe La Maude
By Vincent Golini (@FloridaStylePizza)
If it’s anyone who’s witnessed the power that social media can have on a local eatery, It’s Vincent Golini and his family over at Florida Style Pizza in South Philly. Once people caught on to his unassuming storefront and his unique brand of “inside-out” pizzas (a variation on the popular Panzerotti) on Instagram, things took off for him and his wife, Anitra at their local pizza joint.
Walking up to Florida Style Pizza’s location alone would make you curious as to what exactly a “Florida Style Pizza” is, which handles the first step of basic marketing. You’d walk in and ask what exactly a Florida Style Pizza is, at which point Vinny would explain to you that it’s a fried pizza pocket stuffed with a variation of ingredients ranging from mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce to burger toppings (he’d just as likely explain to you that the term “Florida Style” has nothing to do with its place of origin, rather just a clever term to get you intrigued). Once you see what crazy combinations Vinny and wife have to offer, it doesn’t take much for you to decide on buying half of the menu.
On a separate note, I’d be pretty stupid to forget to mention that Vinny has also honored me by naming his newest creation the “Philly Foodporn Brunch” inside out. A beautifully crafted inside-out inspired by ingredients that I tend to feature most on my social media profiles. Some of my personal favorites like a burger with smoked Gouda cheese, bacon, and, of course, a fried egg, inside a crispy-fried-inside-out pocket. To top it off? Nothing else but another fried egg (anything is better with a fried egg, in my opinion). You can get it at their storefront or by delivery by calling Florida Style Pizza at (215) 755-7946. You can also keep up to date with their newest creations by following them on Instagram @FloridaStylePizza
Check out Vinny’s recommendation for 2016 below:
In the last 10 years (and especially the last few years, in which me and my wife have finally had time and money to eat out a few times a week,) there has been a boom in new restaurants and cafes doing food in a whole new way in Philly, some of our favorites are in the city, (and we’re partial to Northern Liberties and the Fishtown area) are, Suppa, North 3rd, Paesanos, La Colombe, Beddia, Brigantessa, etc. A lot of these places are foreign to people in south Philly, where we live and own a business of our own. But in the Northern Liberties area there was a place that we passed plenty of times without knowing it was there or what we were missing. We go to brunch on Sunday’s religiously and post our conquers. While having a conversation with one of our customers on French toast, he asked if we ever had the French toast from from Cafe La Maude. We said “no, where is that?” And he said 800 north 4th st. Since we go up that way all the time I said no but we will try the place out. Found out it was established in 2010. And it happens to be right down the street from Honey’s Sit-n-Eat.
Now as much as food being good is important, we also enjoy the look, feel, and astmosphere at a place just as much as the taste of the food. Now, this place has a French Lebanese fusion menu so it is a little different on its approach towards food. It has the feel of a French cafe in Paris inside with beautiful marble accents all around, pictures of famous French actors and actresses on the back wall. Beautiful finished ceilings and 2 rooms, with two different feels. It has a full coffee bar when you walk In which serves La Colombe coffee, and that happens to be our favorite coffee. So basically the look, feel, and atmosphere of the place is topped with one of the owners of the place greeting, seating and talking to everyone that comes in to make sure they are treated like a king or queen. The owners wife, who is the Lebanese side of the equation, controls and creates the whole menu. She is also there serving, watching the food quality, etc and making sure her vision is cooked to perfection by the cooks they employ. They also have a very pleasant and attentive crew of waitresses that makes this very busy place run smooth. They are a brunch and lunch place only and they are open from 7am to 4pm 7 days a week. As with any cafe on weekends during breakfast and lunch hours, this place is packed and wait times could add up so get there either before 10 am or after 1 on weekends.The food is very Lebanese inspired. They use of fresh fruits cut very small and like a work of art, along with vegetables mixed in is the norm. For example, my favorite, the Berry-licious Pain Perdue is brioche French toast stuffed with marscopone cheese or Nutella, creme brûlée bananas topped with warm berries and passion fruit sauce… OMG, you don’t need syrup at all.It has little cut apples around the dish and is plated beautifully. Now, we haven’t even read many things get on the menu because of how good the first things were and we have only been there a few times so far. We did have the steak frites, which is filet steak, with tomatoes, arugula, avocado and mustard aioli, served on a baguette with a side of potatoes, this was so delicious with a great cut of steak great flavor combinations, and even the potatoes were spiced to perfection.
The level of service is second to none and finally the atmosphere and feel of the place is unmatched for any cage I knew of. If you are looking for a hidden gem, some flavorful food you never experienced and a place to really impress a friend or girlfriend, go to Cafe La Maude. If you don’t come out feeling a little more special than when you went in, you just have been sleeping.
By Gary Pica & Ryan Tegeler (@PhillyNomBros)
I’ve been fortunate enough to meet an awesome group of people through this blog, most of which share the same passion (and borderline sexual attraction) for food. One of the other social media accounts that stood out to me was a pair of guys named Gary Pica and Ryan Tegeler, more commonly known as “Philly Nom Bros” on Instagram.
Through various networking and social events, I’ve met and befriended these two fellow foodies and learned a little about their background and philosophies on food and dining (not to mention their combined ability to drink me under the dance floor).
Gary and Ryan, both graduates of Saint Joseph’s University, jointly run their increasingly popular Instagram account and have been featuring a refreshing variety of food in Philly. You can see how they differ from other Philly-food-based social media accounts by checking them out here.
Check out their recommendation for REX 1516 below:
Familiar with the city-wide special? No, we’re talking about the OTHER city-wide special. For the past two years, Rex 1516 has been serving up their own twist on the classic “shot and a beer” Philadelphia tradition. It’s fitting, considering Rex is located directly across the way from Bob & Barbara’s, the originators of the classic city-wide deal. Every Tuesday and Wednesday at Rex you can get a burger, your choice of fries or salad, a Newbold IPA and a shot of Jim Beam all for $15. Oh, and this is not just any burger. For the city-wide burger special, Executive Chef Justin Swain channels the creativity of the best Chefs and culinary minds in Philly. He also takes the opportunity to flex his own “culinary muscles” in the kitchen. Every Tuesday, foodies are double and triple checking Chef Swain’s instagram account, where he reveals what the “burger of the week” will be.The city-wide burger special is just one of the many ways Swain and the crew at Rex have been making noise in the Philly food scene. Every Sunday for $13 they serve up pit-beef sandwiches. Tri-tip beef, served medium rare, thinly sliced and served on a potato roll with tiger sauce and raw onions. Your choice of fries or salad on the side. If you haven’t gotten the gist yet, let me spell it out for you: high quality eats, an elegant dining experience, at an extremely inexpensive price. It’s safe to say Chef Swain has done his part to make Rex 1516 a one of a kind dining establishment in Philadelphia.
By Sembat Dram (@PhillyFoodLove)
Along with the fellas at @PhillyNomBros, I’ve come to befriend another Philly food blogger named Sebmat Dram, more commonly known as @PhillyFoodLove on Instagram. Not many people have been able to introduce me to a restaurant in Philadelphia that I didn’t know I wanted to go to, but Sembat has, like the other writers of this article, stood out from the herd by consistently featuring (and recommending) places in the Philly food scene that (and I’m not afraid to admit this), haven’t even heard of, with this recommendation being a prime example. Give him a follow @PhillyFoodLove to see what I mean.
Check out Sembat’s recommendation of Apricot Stone below:
There are so many great restaurants in Philadelphia that we usually don’t know where to begin when someone asks for recommendations. However, Philly has a gamechanger in 2016 by the name of Apricot Stone. This newly opened Mediterranean restaurant in Northern Liberties has everything we didn’t even know we needed.
Apricot Stone has all the popular items covered with their delicious hummus, babaganoush, stuffed grape leaves and shish kabobs. But they take it a step further by offering traditional Mediterranean favorites that are usually reserved for special occasions like their lentil soup, cheese boregs (warm flakey fillo dough stuffed with cheese), lahmajoun ( a thin-crust open faced meat pie) and fattoush salad (fresh greens, tomatoes, onions and toasted pita chips mixed right in). Yes, they taste just as interesting as they sound.One of the most show-stopping items on their menu is the juicy lamb shish kabob that literally melts in your mouth, grilled to perfection with peppers and onions. Their kabob platters are served with a bed of buttery rice pilaf, with your choice of dip and salad, all topped off with a warm piece of pita bread. Also, for all the health conscious eaters out there, the menu is heavy on the vegetarian and vegan options.
If all that wasn’t enough to get you to want to try this place, Apricot Stone has a unique Sunday brunch menu that will truly knock your socks off. You can sample several items including an oven baked za’atar flatbread that will change your life, all for just $20!
All of these items along with their decadent desserts are hand made by their fantastic chef, Fimi, who has operated a successful catering business in the Philadelphia area for the past few decades. The owner, Ara Ishkhanian, is extremely passionate and devoted to making sure every customer has a great experience. Once you step foot in the door of this trendy and polished establishment located at 1040 N 2nd Street on Liberties Walk, you will know that this restaurant is a cut above the rest.
“Eat Me Out” Web Series
By Nikki Allen Poe (@HourOfPanic)
I’m not just on the hunt for a unique dining experience in Philadelphia. I’m also always looking to meet awesome people and learn about what makes them so unique. Throughout my expeditions in both Philly’s food and comedy circuit, I’ve come to know a guy by the name of Nikki Allen Poe.
Among other truly interesting things, Poe has established him as Philadelphia’s prominent cannabis policy reform activist. If you haven’t read one of the many articles written about him and his activism tactics, you more likely may have read about his fairly recent run at a seat on the Philadelphia city council.
Even if you don’t partake in such things, it’s hard to deny that Poe has established a trail of genuine events across the city, whether they be cannabis or food related, or both. I was lucky enough to attend such an event when he invited me to a shooting of a cannabis-based cooking show where the acclaimed “Chef Nugs” competed in a cannabis-infused cheesesteak cook-off with local Philly chef, Loka from Scrapple TV’s High End Cuisine.
Poe’s passion for cannabis is more or less matched by his enthusiasm for good food and good times, which makes him an ideal contributor for Philly Foodporn (not to mention his other projects involved with local cannabis policy reform and social events). Along with myself and a few other contributors yet to be mentioned, Poe is producing a web series that will be regularly featured here on the site named “Eat Me Out” – A series where Poe sits down with various actors and actresses in the adult film industry over a meal at one of Philadelphia’s best restaurants. Keep an eye out for him on Instagram, @HourOfPanic, or his future posts on this website.
Check out his synopsis for “Eat Me Out” below:
Philly Food Porn is not a website that should be open to literal interpretation. Fortunately for you, a new project I’m involved in has allowed just that. ‘Eat Me Out’, a web series I’m producing with Philly based Exxxotica Expo, will highlight the amazing restaurant scene while we interview porn starlets (and studs) when they visit our city. Each episode will feature a new restaurant, a new star and promises to included delicious food and titillating conversation.Our pilot episode finds us sitting down with Burning Angel founder and alt porn goddess, Joanna Angel. We spent the afternoon at Franky Bradley’s and chewed the fat on her career, life on the road, and the behind the scene secrets of an adult film superstar.Look for the premiere episode over the next few weeks.What’s better than food and porn?Well, that’s easy.Weed.Lots of weed.Trust me, there will be plenty of that as well.Features about underground brunches, parties and dinners, reviews of locally made edible companies, Bobby Flay style cannabis cook offs.It’s all coming yer way.But how ’bout some foreplay first, huh?